Study Guide: The 2019 Public High School Report Carde2be8a5b524029c41c84762c9ae82c0c

As the school bells begin to ring once again and students start to fill the halls, it’s time to examine how the local public high schools are faring with our annual report card. Using information gleaned from the Florida Department of Education, we’ve gathered data to see how our local schools match up in key areas like average SAT scores and graduation rates. In addition, we take a look at how area districts are weighing a shift in start times for the school day as well as finding out how school cafeterias are making a concerted effort to bring a renewed healthy approach to lunchtime.






High School | Average SAT Score
Hagerty High School | 1104
Winter Park High School | 1095
Oviedo High School | 1075
Timber Creek High School | 1065
West Orange High School | 1045
Seminole High School | 1043
Lake Brantley High School | 1039
Boone High School | 1034
Olympia High School | 1029
Lake Mary High School | 1024
Lake Nona High School | 1010
Lyman High School | 1008
University High School | 1007
Lake Howell High School | 1005
Dr. Phillips High School | 1001
Celebration High School | 984
Winter Springs High School | 973
East River High School | 973
Freedom High School | 971
Edgewater High School | 959
Cypress Creek High School | 956
Apopka High School | 951
Ocoee High School | 944
Wekiva High School | 910
Colonial High School | 906
Evans High School | 858
Oak Ridge High School | 857
Jones High School | 842

High School | Graduation Rate %
Cypress Creek High School | 99
Timber Creek High School | 99
University High School | 99
Boone High School | 98
Freedom High School | 98
Olympia High School | 98
Winter Park High School | 98
Apopka High School | 97
Colonial High School | 97
Edgewater High School | 97
Dr. Phillips High School | 96
East River High School | 96
Hagerty High School | 96
Lake Mary High School | 96
Lake Nona High School | 95
Ocoee High School | 95
West Orange High School | 95
Lake Brantley High School | 94
Oak Ridge High School | 94
Lyman High School | 92
Wekiva High School | 92
Celebration High School | 91
Lake Howell High School | 91
Winter Springs High School | 91
Oviedo High School | 90
Seminole High School | 89
Evans High School | 88
Jones High School | 87

High School | Senior Class Size
Freedom High School | 960
Dr. Phillips High School | 896
Cypress Creek High School | 877
Timber Creek High School | 842
Olympia High School | 841
Colonial High School | 838
Winter Park High School | 809
Lake Nona High School | 786
Apopka High School | 762
Seminole High School | 710
Boone High School | 706
University High School | 681
Lake Mary High School | 674
Oviedo High School | 667
Oak Ridge High School | 635
Ocoee High School | 622
Celebration High School | 605
Lake Brantley High School | 602
Hagerty High School | 585
West Orange High School | 576
Evans High School | 568
Lake Howell High School | 545
Lyman High School | 520
Wekiva High School | 515
East River High School | 503
Winter Springs High School | 470
Edgewater High School | 466
Jones High School | 331

Shifting School Schedules
Research showing that teenagers perform better when beginning classes later in the day has local school districts considering changing start times.

This coming fall, high school students in nearby Volusia County will be heading to their classrooms later than usual. Instead of starting classes at 7:55 a.m., high schools in Volusia will now begin at 8:30 a.m.

The change comes as research shows that teenagers function better later in the day. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has noted the amount of research on this topic and recommends that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

After watching counties such as Volusia make this change, Orange County school board members have begun to broach the topic.

“The research is clear regarding adolescent development of the adolescent mind,� said Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) Superintendent Barbara M. Jenkins at a recent school board meeting. “The question is whether or not we can work through the logistics of making that kind of adjustment and when the board might be interested in that discussion in the community.�

The logistics of pushing up high school start times is highly dependent on scheduling for bus pickups and drop-offs. Like other school districts, Orange County staggers start and end times for elementary, middle and high schools to optimize the number of busses and drivers needed to deliver students to and from school. So, any change made to school schedules would have to work within the parameters of when and where the county school busses need to be.

If the OCPS school board did move forward with shifting school schedules, it would not be the first time such a change was made.

In 2008, the board flipped middle and high school start times, so that middle schoolers began at 7:20 a.m. and high school students started at 9:30 a.m. A year later the move was reversed after the voting out of three board members and significant uproar from parents and students.

With this in mind, current school board members have expressed caution in moving forward too quickly.

“I’m willing to risk my position,� said school board chairman Theresa Jacobs at a recent school board meeting. “But if the outcome is it gets reversed in the next election, then we haven’t accomplished anything.�

Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Walt Griffin has expressed interest in having his county school board take up the issue as well and he has asked his district’s business advisory board to look into it.

Osceola County Public Schools recently approved a three-tiered plan for school start times, matching how other Central Florida counties structure their schedules. Previously, some of Osceola’s individual schools did not have the same start time as their counterparts, so one high school could start at a different time than another one.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average high school start time in the United States is 7:59 a.m. and only 10.4% of high schools start before 7:30 a.m.

Bell Times: School Start Times in Central Florida
County Districts | Elementary | Middle School | High School
Orange County Public Schools | 8:45 a.m. | 9:30 a.m. | 7:20 a.m.
Osceola County Public Schools | 8:20 a.m. | 9:20 a.m. | 7:20 a.m.
Volusia County Public Schools | 7:50 a.m. | 9:30 a.m. | 8:30 a.m.
Seminole County Public Schools | 8:35 a.m. | 9:20 a.m. | 7:20 a.m.

Farm to School
School cafeterias are moving away from serving prepackaged foods to offering more fresh and made-from-scratch menu items.

Six years ago, the typical school cafeteria in Florida was buying mostly prepared and packaged foods to serve to students at lunchtime. But today, school districts across the state are now embracing a fresh approach to feeding students with more produce straight from the farm and more made-from-scratch meals.

This change was prompted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s (FDOACS) Farm to School Initiative, which aims to increase the amount of local produce served in schools and provide healthier options for students. This initiative was created in 2012 after new legislation transferred oversight of the school and nutrition program from the Florida Department of Education to the FDOACS.

Lora Gilbert, senior director of Food and Nutrition Services for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), says the change has been a huge benefit for the district because the FDOACS connects schools to local farmers. And through the agency’s Harvest of the Month School Program, menu planning can be done by what seasonal produce is available.

School districts can also participate in opportunity buys where farmers with excess produce will sell to them at reduced a reduced price, which helps keep costs low for school food programs.
The result of all this is a host of new menu concepts such as fresh hummus served with cucumbers for dipping and beef pot roast with yellow squash.

Gilbert says students have been receptive to the new cafeteria offerings.

“I think [our students] are just like a lot of other consumers these days; they like everything fresh,� she says.

While OCPS is sourcing more produce from local farms, one local high school’s cafeteria has begun receiving ingredients from the school’s very own student-run hydroponic garden.

Ocoee High School students began growing cucumbers and tomatoes at their school after 4 Rivers restaurants’ philanthropy arm, The 4R Foundation, invested $60,000 into renovating a shade house and greenhouse for the school’s horticulture department.

With their new hydroponic garden, Ocoee’s students have learned not just what it takes to grow plants but about selling them too, which they did this past school year by becoming a vendor to OCPS. The students’ cucumbers and tomatoes were then used in food preparations at their own high school.

Edgewater High School has also recently received a greenhouse and agricultural tools through The 4R Foundation and its program is set to begin in the fall.

“Historically, most horticulture programs focused on growing ornamental plants, but with these new greenhouses the focus has shifted to growing healthy food,� says Mike Armbruster, associate superintendent for OCPS Career and Technical Education. “The bigger vision is to have future generations understand and have access to healthy food where they live.�

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s August 2019 issue.

As the school bells begin to ring once again and students start to fill the halls, it’s time to examine how the local public high schools are faring with our annual report card. Using information gleaned from the Florida Department of Education, we’ve gathered data to see how our local schools match up in key [… […]Read More

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